What’s in a Name?


Sometimes one of the best parts of being active on social media is creating your online profile. You get to choose a great photo, come up with a catchy username and write an interesting bio about yourself. But, as a professional looking to engage with clients, there are a few things you should consider.

In a recent blog, we discussed the importance of using multiple social media outlets to market to your audience. In order to do that effectively, you need to keep your profile consistent and recognizable. Keep the same username, profile photo and bio for each platform. That way, clients will recognize you and be more likely to follow.

Username: Try to keep your username simple. It will be hard for clients to find you if they are searching for John Doe, but your username is ILovePizza72. It’s best to stick to basics and have your username be your first and last name. This includes refraining from using your middle name. It’s a popular trend to use your first and middle name for your profile, but your clients don’t know your middle name – they know your first and last. You can even go as far as adding a career designation to your profile. For example, instead of just @JohnDoe, you could make it @JohnDoe_REALTOR® or @JDoe_Homesale. Clients won’t want to spend a lot of time searching for you so the simpler you can make it for them to find you the better.

Photo: As a professional looking to engage with clients, the best photo you could use is an up-to-date photo of just you. It could be a professionally taken photo, a selfie or one that someone else took of you. As long as it is recent and clearly you, it doesn’t matter who took it. If you really want your profile photo to be you and your spouse or you and your kids, that’s fine. The bottom line is that you should be in the photo and clearly visible. You want to make sure that your clients can tell it’s your profile at a glance.

Bio: Online profile bios can be as short or as long as the character limit allows. The two most important things you should include in your bio is your occupation and your area of service. For example, the bio for John Doe could be something like this:

REALTOR® – Hanover, PA – Pizza Lover – Dad – Go EAGLES!

Final Tips: Make sure whenever you update one profile, you update them all. Another thing you can consider if you want more freedom to personalize your online profile, is to set up two different accounts; one personal and one professional. You can make your personal one any username, photo and bio you want while still keeping the professional one to interact with clients. The choice is yours!

5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Approach

Social Media

1. Focus on People

Real estate is about promoting properties, but social media is for connecting with people. Use these platforms as a way to build & nourish your relationships with clients. This type of prospecting is the key to finding success with social media, therefore it should take up about 80% of your social media time.

2. Produce Content on a Regular Basis

One of the first things clients do when they hear your name is search it on Google, which then leads them to your social media accounts. By having fresh content available on these pages, you show them that you’re both informed and engaged. You don’t need to post every day, just enough to show you’re current. Think of producing content as about 20% of your social media activity.

3. Treat Each Outlet as its Own Platform

From Facebook to newspapers and everywhere in between, each social media platform is beneficial in its own way. Spending X amount of dollars on Facebook will translate very differently when spent on ads in your local newspaper. Invest your finances based on the results they will produce.

4. Implement a Strategy for Time Management

Posting frequently is important, but it doesn’t mean you can’t cheat a little. By utilizing the scheduling function on Facebook & using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can schedule posts in advance. Try and schedule weekly so that you save time, but still share current information.

5. Make a Plan & Stick to it

Your social media approach should be rooted in strategy. Develop goals you’d like to accomplish and make it happen. Try creating a schedule to ensure you don’t duplicate posts, remember the best hashtags to use, and keep up with events that mean a lot to you and your clients.

6 Ways to Use Instagram to Boost Your Real Estate Business

According to a 2017 report by the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest group of home buyers, at 34%, are under the age of 36. Pair this, with the fact that 59% of Instagram users are aged 18-29, it’s no wonder that real estate agents are using Instagram to connect with younger clients.

How can you use Instagram effectively to boost your leads and sales? 

1)  Use appealing visuals

Instagram is all about great visuals. It is important to create fabulous eye candy for your followers. Every photo or video you post should be clear and not blurry, well-lit and visually appealing. Use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera that produces high quality images.

For photos, make use of Instagram’s filters to create a mood or story about your particular style. It’s best to stick with one or two filters to keep your style consistent. However, don’t go too crazy with filters when you are posting listing photos. They should be close to actual color.

If you want to get creative with text and designs, check out these free design and photo editor apps: Canva, PicMonkey, Qwik or Studio.

Instagram videos are seeing significantly higher (over 2X) engagement than Instagram photos. Try creating videos that include your photo and contact information, as well as, company branding by using Videolicious. This app is easy to use, and makes professional-looking videos with music, narration, video, and slideshows of photos.

2) Share client testimonials

Great personal experiences are the cornerstone of your real estate business.  Since 88% of consumers trust online reviews, this will help you make a good first impression when prospective clients are deciding who they want as their REALTOR®.  Plus, millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be influenced by their friends’ social media posts. Video testimonials enable your existing clients to share their story. Photos of significant moments in the sales process like receiving the keys at settlement, standing in front of their new house, and a thankful hug after putting up the Sold Sign (like this picture below) show that your clients are the center of your focus.


3) Feature Your Listings and Open Houses

It’s been said a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million.  Beautiful photos and compelling video of your new listings or open houses engage potential home buyers. Plus, you can add a location to your post, which makes it easier for mobile users to find the property. Always include key features, info, and maybe even a little humor like this post:


4) Show the Real You

Instagram is social media. Millennials want authenticity. They enjoy seeing you playing with your kids or grandkids, going on vacation, or sharing activities you like to do outside of work. Infuse your Instagram with posts that show the real you. While you may be helping them to buy or sell a house, at heart, it’s YOU and your personality that sells. They want to know, like and trust you. Sharing your interests and finding things in common with you, helps them feel connected. So go ahead, share great images of you that reflect your personality! Funny? Show your humor. Athletic? Show yourself in action.  Giving? Share pics of you volunteering in the community. Family oriented?  Share family photos. Sports fan? Show that Penn State Pride:


5) Be the Local Expert

Buyers moving into a new area want to know all the hot spots: restaurants, shopping, areas of interest, and places and events that only the locals know. Sharing pictures of your town, neighborhoods, local events and local areas of interest give buyers a glimpse into the community. Who better to be the expert in the area, than an agent that works and lives right there?

6) Use Hash Tags

Do you want to get noticed by those outside your circle? Hashtags are a powerful way to connect. Hashtags allow users to find you. Here are a few popular hashtags:

  • By Location –  #lancasterpa, #baltimore, #harrisburgpa
  • Listing characteristics – #luxuryliving #condo #fixerupper
  • Popular real estate hashtags: #realestate, #realestatelife, #listings, #openhouse, #homeforsale, #justsold
  • Generally popular hashtags: #love, #photooftheday, #beautiful, #smile, #instagood

These are just a few. Search GetHashtags to find more.

Caution: don’t include too many hashtags, as you might come across as spammy. Instagram allows up to thirty, but stick with just the ones that are appropriate for your post.

With a little bit of creativity and your own unique style, you can create a visual display of who you are, what you do, and how you can serve potential clients. Ultimately, Instagram can help you engage with younger buyers and sellers, resulting in a boost in your business.


What helps make a real estate blog stand out?


More real estate professionals have come to understand the value of blogging to help push their sites up local search rankings and gain more traction with would-be buyers and sellers. However, there are certainly elements that separate a good blog from a great one. When agents know the difference, they can really unlock new potential for their web content to be shared and – potentially – connect with future clients.

The good news is there are plenty of little add-ons for blogs that can help them stand out from the crowd, above and beyond what even planned, well-written posts already provide, according to Real Estate Tech News. For one thing, it’s vital to have SEO-monitoring apps attached to your blog platform so that any posts are optimized to improve their standing among local real estate site rankings. Likewise, having the power of Google Analytics to see how visitors find each blog post – and the site overall – can help improve traffic as well.

Getting in touch
Beyond the basics, though, the point of a real estate blog is usually to both highlight current listings and entice potential clients to fill out contact forms so you know how to get in touch with them. Apps like Ninja Forms, MailChimp for WordPress, Constant Contact and more will achieve that end fairly easily.  Keep in mind, there are many options, so it would be wise to experiment a little bit and figure out which one works best for your specific needs.

Finally, it’s absolutely crucial to install a widget that optimizes your site for viewing on all devices, and mobile in particular. Because a growing number of home shoppers begin their search online using a smartphone, the ability to scale a site automatically to match whatever screen they’re using is a must.

Making it look good
Meanwhile, it’s also a good idea to consider the benefits of finding the best possible blog design that highlights just how beautiful the listings are, and one that makes the words pop off the screen as well, according to Athemes. While some WordPress themes cost money, many are available for free and can make content as shareable as possible. Of course, because these themes are available to everyone, it’s vital to find one that’s not being used by another local competitor already.

Consider the lifestyle you want to convey in your theme. Many themes are customizable to an almost unbelievable extent, while others are more basic and allow you to simply pick color schemes, fonts, and so forth. How far you want to take the level of customization should depend on your personal web expertise, but most themes are very user-friendly and therefore some experimenting will help you get acclimated. After that, you may be able to “set it and forget it.”

Remember, even one well-designed blog post can be the thing that helps a potential client – whether buying or selling – decide to do business with you. This kind of power to drive real estate sales should never be underestimated.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Do’s and don’ts for social media in today’s market


There has rightly been a lot of focus on social media marketing among real estate professionals in recent years. It’s relatively simple to use and a great way to connect with potential clients, so agents love it. However, industry experts also caution that there are some ways to go overboard when it comes to social marketing, and these missteps are best avoided.

As every agent knows, there are only so many hours in the day, and while it may not feel as though using social media throughout their work hours takes a lot of time, the minutes spent on it can really add up, according to a report from marketing firm Howard Barker. In a lot of ways, the social media process for real estate agents should be something akin to “set it and forget it.” That is to say, agents would be wise to spend plenty of time up front making sure their pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms look as good as possible. But after those initial efforts, keeping social use to a minimum is probably a good idea.

Overcoming temptation?
When using social media, it can be tempting to scroll a timeline for a few minutes here and there. And while doing so can sometimes be valuable – especially when agents follow industry experts who provide important tips and tricks – there are still other things to attend to at work. As such, it’s important to take some key marketing ideas and move along. For instance, some experts recommend paying nominal fees for targeted advertising that will reach the most interested parties, but agents may find their mileage varies when it comes to converting those ads to real estate sales.

In general, when marketing on social media, experts say it’s wise to make sure all posts have attractive pictures for listings, and links back to an agency’s social page or website. It might be easier to spend a few hours each week creating these postings and scheduling them to be sent out rather than trying to create engaging messages individually over the course of a few days.

Know your audience
The misstep some real estate agents make on social media is assuming that everyone using the site is a millennial. It can be easy to pitch all marketing on Facebook, for example, to a younger audience, but agents should keep in mind that pretty much everyone is on some form of social media nowadays. Some platforms are more popular with certain demographics than others, but almost every demographic group uses Facebook.

With this in mind, it might also be wise to market to older people on these sites, according to Buildium. Typically, reaching baby boomers or late Gen Xers means marketing in the traditional way and having a plan to do so via social. In addition, it would be wise for agents to make sure they know what older people tend to want in homes – security, smaller sizes, etc. – and market those features in certain listings. In addition, it’s also vital to consider that LinkedIn is extremely popular among older social users, so reaching them through that platform is a good idea as well.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

A Social Media Cheat Sheet for REALTORS

This article originally appeared on RISMedia’s Housecall Blog and can be found here.

By Matt Banner

As time goes on, the realm of social media is constantly changing. Real estate agents use visually heavy platforms like Instagram consistently, so it’s always beneficial to stay on top of any changes coming down the pipeline.

Today we’ll look at five crucial tips that will help you elevate your presence on social media. We’ll follow that with a full infographic that shows the best times and days to post, along with image sizing guides.

1. Create Posts about Your Area
Taking pictures of listings in your neighborhood or famous landmarks will generate buzz about that area. It’s a great way to get people asking about the house in the photo.

2. Post about Local Events
Another great way to promote your local area is to post about events that showcase the liveliness and culture of your area.

3. Congratulate New Homeowners
Without mentioning full names, you can show that you care by posting a photo of the keys (or something subtle) and congratulating the new homeowners. It’s a nice touch that people will appreciate.

4. Start a Blog
If you’re having trouble finding things to post, why not start a blog? That way, you can create posts to share on your social media pages. You don’t need to write articles either; you can post pictures on your blog or create galleries.

5. Post Your Listings
The biggest rule on social media is to post 80 percent non-business posts and 20 percent promotional content. Within that 20 percent, showcase your new home listings.

Your presence on social media is crucial as a real estate agent. Use the infographic below to learn all the secrets behind successful pages on today’s top platforms, and tell us the secrets of your success in the comments section below!